Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thomas' consistency helps stoke KSU's running game
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Daniel Thomas' strong start has been one of the biggest reasons for Kansas State's improbable rise to first place in the Big 12 North.
Thomas has been the most consistent rusher in the conference, producing conference-leading totals of 1,087 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns,
He came into the program as a quarterback/wide receiver from Northwest Mississippi Junior College. But the 227-pounder has emerged as the Wildcats' most consistent offensive weapon as a running back.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said that Thomas' versatility has helped his team. His bullish running produced a career-high 185 rushing yards in the Wildcats' 17-10 victory over Kansas last week that has pushed them a half game ahead of Nebraska for the North lead with two games to go.
"He gives us kind of a multi-purpose dimension. I like that he, as a running back, is a pretty physical running back," Snyder said. "He has reasonably good size but as he demonstrated this weekend, he's got a major motor that can keep things going. He stays on his feet well."
Thomas' growth is particularly noteworthy considering he joined the program before fall practice and hasn't had the benefit of a full spring learning the nuances of Snyder's philosophy.
"He's gotten better as the season has progressed," Snyder said. "Some of that comes from understanding the system a little bit better. Some of it comes from just the experience. Some of it from the daily practice routine. But his development has been very good. He's playing well."
Thomas leads the Big 12 in the number of 10-yard runs this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Here's a list of where Thomas ranks among the nation's leaders for 10-yard runs:
- Joseph Webb, UAB, 39
- Colin Kaepernick, Nevada, 38
- Mark Ingram, Alabama, 38
- Bernard Pierce, Temple, 38
- Donald Buckram, UTEP, 37
- Daniel Thomas, Kansas State, 36
- Toby Gerhart, Stanford, 34
- Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, 32
- Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State, 31
- LaMichael James, Oregon, 30